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SIU conducts drill on second phase of ‘active threat’ emergency

Member of the Emergency Operations Center conduct exercises on the university’s response to an emergency.
University Marketing & Communications
Member of the Emergency Operations Center conduct exercises on the university’s response to an emergency.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale conducted its annual emergency exercises Wednesday, April 24 with a different scenario: what happens in the four hours after the immediate danger has passed and people need services.

First responders, university leaders and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), comprising professionals from many departments, continued from last year’s simulation, in which an active shooter killed and wounded students before taking his own life.

This year’s exercises were less visible than 2023’s. While the campus community may have noticed more activity in the Student Center and more messages from the university, the day was like any other for most of the community.

“Many times, the scenario for emergency exercises ends when the immediate threat to public safety has passed, but we as a university would have much more work to do for our community,” said Ben Newman, director of public safety and chief of police.

The university’s tasks include gathering evidence and investigating the crime, finding new space for displaced students, reunifying students with families, counseling, communications and more. It will take a few days for officials to fully analyze the response and decide on next steps.

“Although we hope such a situation doesn’t happen here, it is necessary to plan and to have teams coordinate,” he said. “These exercises will help us anticipate what needs to be done in case of a real emergency.”

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